Ecological Restorations has completed a highly successful awareness-raising and public education project aimed at furthering stakeholder knowledge of the human health and environmental impacts of mercury. This is especially relevant in Ghana where artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) involves mercury use, resulting in the release of many tonnes of mercury to the environment in recent years.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog group promoting chemical safety and zero waste, conducted a market investigation between November 2014 and February 2015 to determine the availability of mercury-containing skin whitening products, particularly facial creams, in the Philippines. EcoWaste Coalition procured 355 samples of skin whitening creams from various retailers in 50 cities across the archipelago and had them analyzed for mercury content using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device.
Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) produced and facilitated educational workshops at four schools targeting school children in an effort to draw awareness to the environmental and human health impacts of electronic waste (e-waste) disposal in the community. Dubbed “E-waste Education for the Generation”, the program featured lectures and interactive activities, including the presentation of an animated short produced by Indian NGO Toxics Link. In addition, educational materials were also created and disseminated to the 100 children in attendance.
As a way of promoting the safe handling of medical waste and mercury-containing equipment, BaliFokus began by assessing the handling of mercury-containing devices and general medical waste management systems in local hospitals. After administering surveys and examining hospital waste management policies, organizers educated hospital staff about the dangers of medical waste incineration and existing alternatives to mercury-containing equipment.
Eco-Sense conducted several activities as part of its continuing efforts to inform the public about the dangers of mercury pollution. These included translating five informative fact sheets about mercury (how toxic it is, how it is used by the health care industry, how one becomes exposed to it through fish consumption, how to manage small spills, and what alternatives exist) into Macedonian. Eco-Sense also contracted with the Chemistry Institute to test 33 hair samples for mercury.
Balifokus conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative methods research to holistically document the process of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) activities in Indonesia. Specifically focused on ASGM practices in the context of mercury pollution and contamination, Balfokus activists used field interviews, direct observation, and document review to bring to light the many socio-economic and human rights impacts and abuses resulting from this method of gold extraction.
Eco-Ethics International worked on community capacity building (centered in Owino Uhuru in Mombasa) that served to bring awareness and promote policy action concerning the dangerous levels of lead contamination (primarily through lead extraction from car batteries) that have been documented in the environment and in area residents.
Baytuna Society conducted a number of activities to properly understand the current situation and dangers associated with mercury contamination in Jordan. These activities included a review of all legislation governing mercury, literature review of all research studies conducted in the country, informational interviews with government officials, and the staging of events targeting relevant stakeholders to ascertain levels of understanding about the issue.
DISHA conducted an overall awareness and education campaign to educate local hospital employees and high school science students about the proper handling of mercury. With direct collaboration from local government environmental agencies, a series of trainings and workshops educated individuals about the dangers of mercury, the proper way to handle mercury in case of a spill, and how to reduce mercury use by using alternative equipment. Educational print media was developed and tailored for each of the target audiences.
The NGO “Independent Ecological Expertise” conducted activities in order to develop a National Action Plan for the Khaidarkan mercury mine, with the goal to reduce mercury contamination of the environment and human health.